CRCWSC Management Biographies

CRCWSC Executive

Professor Tony Wong, Chief Executive Officer

Professor Tony Wong is internationally recognised for his research and practice in sustainable urban water management, particularly water sensitive urban design. His expertise has been gained through national and international consulting, research, and academia. He has led a large number of award-winning urban design projects.

He received the prestigious Sir John Holland Award as Australia’s Civil Engineer of the Year in 2010, and was cited as having defined "a new paradigm for the design of urban environments that blends creativity with technical and scientific rigour”.


Ben Furmage, Chief Operations and Finance Officer

Ben Furmage, formerly General Manager, Customer and Strategy at Melbourne Water, joined the CRCWSC on a four-month secondment in mid-January as the interim COO and in June 2017 was appointed its Chief Operating and Finance Officer (COFO).

In his past role at Melbourne Water, Ben was responsible for setting the organisation’s high level strategic direction, overseeing community engagement, and improving customer service. Ben has provided executive leadership to a range of functions across Melbourne Water including water resource and infrastructure planning, utility regulation, public affairs, sustainability, innovation, customer service, research, and development. As a member of Melbourne Water’s executive leadership team since 2008, Ben has led large scale organisational change and industry reform programs. Ben is also an active contributor to the Water Services Association of Australia and VicWater.

Prior to joining Melbourne Water, Ben worked with the National Competition Council, the Productivity Commission, and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Ben has an honours degree in Economics, a Masters of Business Administration, and has recently completed the Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Professor Jurg Keller, Chief Research Officer

Professor Jurg Keller is a Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences  and Engineering (ATSE). He was the founding director of the University of Queensland's Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) and is currently its Deputy Director ­– Research.

Under his leadership, the AWMC has developed into an international centre of excellence in innovative water technology and management. Professor Keller has over two decades of experience in water industry research, particularly in biological wastewater treatment, environmental biotechnology, microbial fuel cells, water recycling, and resource recovery. He combines cutting-edge research and development activities with effective industry-relevant collaboration. 

Professor Keller’s research projects include:

  • Development of the H-DOC Biosensor for Characterisation of Activated Sludge Kinetics & Wastewater Composition;
  • Development and understanding of an effective nitritation process; and 
  • Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal (EBPR): Optimisation through Process Analysis & Operational Improvements.


Barry Ball, Research Adoption Executive

Barry Ball was a foundation Director of the CRCWSC Board and resigned in September 2014 to join the Executive team. He was previously the Deputy Director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. In the course of his 45-year career, Barry has worked in both state and local government, predominately in the water sector. His most recent roles in Brisbane City Council were Manager - Strategic Planning, and Manager - Water Resources Branch.

Some of Barry’s recent achievements include the establishment of the Healthy Waterways Partnership, an integrated “whole of water” strategy for the South East Queensland region, and the development and implementation of the Drought Strategy for Brisbane. Barry was a member of both the Queensland Urban Utilities Board and the Environment Professional Advisory Board at Griffith University. He has held positions on the Urban Water Advisory Committee for the National Water Commission, and Board positions on the CRCs for Catchment Hydrology and Coastal Zone. In 2010 Barry was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal for his achievements in water policy.


CRCWSC Key Management Personnel

Jamie Ewert, National Engagement Manager

Jamie has over 21 years’ experience in the water and environment industry having worked in roles in service delivery, regulation, policy, strategy and research. He has recently joined the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities following 16 years at Melbourne Water Corporation with a focus on waterway management and integrated water management. At the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities Jamie works as a broker between researchers and industry and delivers the CRC’s ‘Research Synthesis’ service to facilitate the translation and adoption of CRCWSC research into practice. He has worked worked with cities across Australia to develop practical water sensitive city projects and  brings extensive facilitation, engagement and IWM strategic skills to this project.


Dr Emma Yuen, Regional Manager - Western Australia

Dr Emma Yuen is the Regional Manager for the Western Region of the CRC for Water Sensitive Cities.  Emma has worked in the water sector for over 20 years in public policy, research, planning and design.  Recent projects for the WA government include development of an integrated land and water management plan for the Gnangara groundwater system, and a water use efficiency pilot involving smart water metering.  As a former researcher with CSIRO and Murdoch University she has explored research questions related to how communities adapt to global environmental change as well as undertaking water demand modelling, program evaluation and participatory community development.

She is both a water scientist and a social scientist, as well as being an experienced facilitator with a passion for working with diverse and interdisciplinary groups.


Chris Tanner, Regional Manager - Queensland

Chris has over 30 years’ experience as a Consulting Engineer and was a Director of Bligh Tanner for 25 years, developing the firm into one of Queensland’s leading consulting engineering firms.  He has taken a new career direction with the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities as the Queensland Regional Manager.

His focus is on integrating civil engineering solutions with the natural environment, and is recognised as a leader in sustainable development and water-sensitive design. He has regularly presented in a range of forums and published a number of papers, and is a skilled negotiator, with extensive design and policy experience, currently working with government and businesses to create the necessary changes to enable water sensitive cities.



Last updated: 14th Jun 2016